Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Lawrence of Arabia, or "Hey! Let's give guns to the Arabs and encourage them to organize their feuding tribes into nation-states. What could possibly go wrong?"

I kid, I kid. It surely was a lot more complicated than that. But it is a lesson in the unintended consequences of political compromises forged under the pressing circumstances of the moment.

I had never seen this movie before, although of course I was aware that it's considered one of the great epics of the cinema. Overall, it lived up to the hype. Some of the desert scenes were spectacular. The sequence that ends with the raid on Aqaba in the first half was particularly well-explained and well-executed. The march to Damascus in the second half was less clear and perhaps a bit anti-climactic. But that's nit-picking. This is a classic that's as timely and relevant today as ever.

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